L. W. Knobe, proprietor of one of the leading retail grocery houses in Franklin, Ind., and in local experience the oldest grocery dealer in the city, was born in Jennings County, Ind., September 29, 1840, and is the son of Balzer and Magdaline Knobe, the former being a native of France, and the latter of Germany. The parents were married in Europe, and emigrated to America in about 1838. They at once came west to Indiana, and located on a farm in Jennings County, where both died in 1849, of cholera, their deaths occurring within a week of each other. To the parents five children were born, three of whom survive. After the death of his parents, our subject went to live with a cousin, and at the age of fourteen years was “bound out” to a lady at Madison, Ind. He was subsequently in the employ of D. J. Vawter, at Vernon, and with that gentleman came to Franklin, and altogether spent five years in his employ. He was next with Brooks & Jones, grocery dealers, and, in 1859, engaged in the restaurant business in Franklin, and continued until July, 1861, when he volunteered in Company I, Eighteenth Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, of which he was appointed orderly sergeant at its organization. Eight months later he was promoted second lieutenant, and in 1863 he was promoted to first lieutenant. He served as such until September 1, 1863, when he resigned on account of physical disabilities. Returning to Franklin, he entered into co-partnership for the purpose of doing a grocery and bakery business. March 5, 1865, his business was entirely destroyed by fire, upon which he had not a cent of insurance. Receiving support from friends, however, he was enabled to make another start in the same business, with his former partner. This firm, which had done a prosperous business, continued for three years, and his partner then sold out to James Hamilton, who, about eighteen months later, sold out to James Richey. Our subject next bought out William Mains, who was dealing in groceries and provisions, and has since carried on that business, together with a full line of candies, fruits, toys, etc., and has now probably the leading store of the kind in Franklin, and does an immense business. Mr. Knobe was married on March 10, 1865, to Damaris Kimbel, who was born in the State of New York, and to them have been born four children, three of whom survive. Both Mr. and Mrs. Knobe are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he is a member of the G. A. R., Wadsworth post, No. 127, at Franklin.

Transcribed by Cheryl Zufall Parker

Banta, D. D. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Chicago, IL: Brant & Fuller, 1888, page 625.